Diving Into the Customer Satisfaction Survey

Diving Into the Customer Satisfaction Survey

Customer satisfaction. This lofty achievement is often, if not always, the main objective for businesses small and large. 

It goes without saying that this concept is attributed to revenue, continued purchases, customer loyalty and brand awareness (via reviews and mentions by happy customers).

So how can your business accomplish customer satisfaction? By putting the customer satisfaction survey into practice. 

This survey is specifically tailored to gauge customer satisfaction within your niche, and most importantly, within your company. This article will explore this survey type and how you can optimize it for all your business needs, including market research, marketing and more. 

Defining Customer Satisfaction

This term appears to be self-evident, but for business purposes, it is best to understand it precisely before you venture out on any efforts to perfect it — or if you’re a startup — to reach it. 

Customer satisfaction denotes the measurement that ascertains the degree to which customers are satisfied with a company’s products, services and experiences. In short, it reveals whether your customers are happy with your offering and by how much. 

Your business can determine its own levels of customer satisfaction with the customer satisfaction survey.

The Customer Satisfaction Survey & its Applications

As its name implies, a customer satisfaction survey is a survey developed for businesses to understand what their customers think about their products, services and company at large.

As such, this kind of survey can cover all the bases of customer satisfaction, such as user experience, mobile experience, customer support and all the other facets of doing business/ interacting with your company. 

The customer satisfaction survey can take the form of a questionnaire, or a ratings-based survey (think numerical values, stars and other icons used to express good or poor satisfaction). 

This kind of survey can be used in a number of different campaigns, based on their macro applications. These include:

These applications may seem too broad to be used for uncovering customer satisfaction alone — and they are. These macro applications serve as the starting points of survey research, which in turn can be used to buttress them. The same applies to a customer satisfaction survey, which can be used in relation to these campaigns.

For example, you can test how satisfied customers are with a product, as it relates to an advertising campaign around it. 

Or, perhaps you need to test your customer support satisfaction for branding. You may conduct a survey that asks about specific wording your representatives may have used.

There are several ways to form a customer satisfaction survey.

5 Types of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

You can design these surveys in a number of ways, but there are five main types of formats that these surveys take. Each survey type provides a different kind of angle into customer satisfaction. As such, they should be used at different points in the customer journey.  

Net Promoter Score Surveys (NPS)

Conceived in 2003 by Fred Reichheld, of Bain & Company, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey has become prominent across industries. This score-based survey asks customers to rate the likelihood of their recommending your business, on a scale of 0-10. 

The respondents who ranked their likelihood between 0-6 are known as the detractors, those who are generally unhappy with your product, service or experience. 

Those who respond in the 7-8 range are called passives, as they are not impressed with your company, but aren’t dissatisfied either. They are situated in the middle of this score, despite their numbers going slightly past the mid-section.

Respondents in the 9-10 range are the most ideal, as they represent the promoters of your business; they are on the higher end of satisfaction.

To calculate your NPS, subtract the percent of detractors away from the percent of promoters. For example, if 60% of responses were Promoters and 15% were Detractors, your Net Promoter Score would be 45. (The NPS is expressed as a digit, not a percentage.

Pro tip: Always add a follow-up open-ended question, so that your customers can explain why they selected their rating. 

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

The CSAT represents a customer’s fulfillment in a particular situation. This is where you can apply this survey to a wide range of applications. For example, you can assess customer happiness during an interaction with a salesperson or with a product feature.

The Customer Satisfaction Score is made up of two parts: a numerically-based question and an open-ended question. The numerically-based question is a scale representing satisfaction.

The CSAT can ask, for example, to rate satisfaction with an experience from a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied to 5 (very satisfied). 

To calculate the CSAT, use the following formula: The total number of satisfied responses / total number of responses) x 100. Round the result to the nearest whole number.

Respondents who answer this with either 4 or 5 are considered to be satisfied customers.

Pro tip: Use the CSAT to understand your customer sentiment at a specific point in time. This includes after a product demo, after a technical support call, after visiting a service center or store. 

Customer Effort Score (CES)

This type of survey measures the amount of effort that was required for a customer to take part in an action. This survey focuses solely on the process of achieving an end result. Also called the effort, measuring the process determines how easy or difficult the flow is in your product/service. 

As such, even if the result may be enjoyable to the customer, the process itself may not be.

This service is important, as brands today must provide quality experiences; the product or service alone is not enough. To fully satisfy customers, brands must make it smooth and easy to complete any process, whether it’s signing up for a subscription or ordering a product.

To calculate the CES, use a 5-point scale to gauge the ease of the customers’ actions. For example, it is common to ask: “how easy was it to find this product on our site?” The options should range from “very difficult,” to “somewhat difficult,” to “somewhat easy” and so on.

The answers on the “disagree” side of the spectrum would be number 1 and 2. 3 would be neutral, while 4 and 5 would be on the “agree” side. The CES is centered around the “agree” answers.

As such, to find the CES add all the “agree” answers (either 4 or 5), then divide them by the total number of respondents. 

For example, if 100 customers replied with a 4 or 5, but there are 200 of them who took the survey, 50% of them are in the “agree” range. That means your CES score is 50. Brands ought to aim for high CES scores, as it points to customers happy in achieving an intended outcome.

Visual Rating Surveys

Also called emoji surveys, visual rating surveys allow customers to respond with graphic, rather than with a number. All the choices they can select are composed of a graphic and there are various ones you can use.

Each answer shows a different amount of each graphic to express the level of satisfaction. For example, a question on how satisfied customers are with a service can range from 1 to 5 stars or other emojis. 

Here are a few examples of the types of visual rating surveys:

  • Star surveys
  • Heart surveys
  • Thumbs up/down surveys
  • Smiley surveys

These kinds of surveys are visually appealing, easy to complete and take little to no time to finish.

Custom Surveys

Best used to understand how and why customer satisfaction was exceeded, met or failed to reach expectations, these surveys are often used as follow-ups to previous surveys.

Custom surveys include questions that delve further into customer satisfaction to discover specifics that other surveys could not make readily available.

To piggyback on previous surveys or previous responses, you can ask follow-up questions by way of advanced skip logic. This will automatically direct your respondents to different question paths, depending on the answers they provided. 

You should organize your custom survey feedback into three segments: fix now, fix later and fine as is. This will allow you to see which issues and experiences are the most pressing and which can be amended later. 

6 Types of Questions to Use in a Customer Satisfaction Survey

The types of questions you use will largely depend on the kind of survey type you implement into your customer satisfaction campaign. 

However, since they all fall under the same research campaign and measure virtually the same thing, there is going to be a lot of overlap between the questions you use for each survey type.

The following lays out the 6 question types to use for measuring customer satisfaction.

  1. Multiple-choice questions: limit the number of answers a respondent can use. Little effort is required to answer (as opposed to open-ended questions). 
    1. They can include rating scale questions, binary scale questions, nominal questions, Likert scale questions, and semantic differential questions.
  2. Rating scale questions: use multiple-choice questions that correspond to a scale, such as the CSAT, for customer support, or the probability of product recommendation (NPS)
    1. These are also called ordinal questions.
  3. Binary scale questions: Allow for only two answers, such as yes or no, or a thumbs up or down.
    1. These are used to cut back on obscure results.
      An example of a binary scale question

       

  4. Nominal questions: Use different categories of answers with no numbers attached.
  5. Likert scale questions: Questions on a 5-7-point scale to assess customer sentiment.
    1. 1 represents the lowest end of the view (strongly disagree) while 7 is at the highest end of the opinion (strongly agree)
  6. Semantic differential questions: Uses a 5-7-point scale, but goes beyond agreeing and disagreeing. 

Using this Survey to Lure in New Customers

Unlike other surveys, which are used to scrutinize your target market, identify it or segment it further, the customer satisfaction survey deals solely with customers, ie, the segment that has already bought from you.

Not everyone in your target market is a customer, as this group denotes the people most likely to buy from you — not the people who already made a purchase. 

Customers are every bit as important to study as prospects, as they help you discover what your company exceeds at and where there’s room for improvement. Measuring customer satisfaction will inform your business on how to better prepare your service, experiences and offerings for everyone in your target market.

As such, you’ll know how to better lure in new customers and upkeep their satisfaction. But most importantly, a customer satisfaction survey helps bridge the gap between one-time purchasers and loyal customers. Retaining your customers is key to keeping your business afloat, as they represent a continuous stream of revenue and revenue opportunities.

Frequently asked questions

What is a customer satisfaction survey?

A customer satisfaction survey is a type of survey that is designed to measure how happy or satisfied existing customers are with a product or service.

What is a Net Promoter Score survey?

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey is a short survey that is used to measure the likelihood that someone will recommend a product, service, or company to someone else. The survey is a good way of gauging overall customer satisfaction.

What is a CSAT?

A CSAT, or Customer Satisfaction Score, is a short survey that measures how satisfied a customer was with a specific situation. It consists of a numerical-based question and an open-ended response.

What is a Customer Effort Score?

A Customer Effort Score (CES) is a survey that measures the amount of effort required to complete a certain action. The survey consists of a single question with a 5-point scale response.

What is a binary scale question?

A binary scale question is a type of survey question that has only two possible responses (e.g. yes or no).


Market Research Panel Definition: Everything You Need to Know

Market Research Panel Definition: Everything You Need to Know

A market research panel can be defined as a selection of research participants, chosen specifically for market research purposes.

These participants (panelists) help researchers better understand the strengths and weaknesses of – or sentiments towards – a particular product, service, brand, or message. Because researchers are often fact-finding on behalf of brands, these panels are also known as ‘brand research panels’.

Market Research Panels: Why Do They Matter?

Against the backdrop of social media and second screening, product owners and service providers are fighting tooth and nail to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. And while USPs are becoming harder to differentiate as brands compete on price points and features, there’s still one area up for grabs: a customer’s experience.

Market research panels help you get to the heart of that matter. The goal is to actively listen to and act upon the insights gleaned from your target audience. Once you understand how your product or service makes your customers feel, you can make the necessary changes to position your brand more effectively — irrespective of price or feature-set.

How Are Market Research Panels Put Together?

Today, market research panels are recruited via online channels. Participants are invited to join through web ads, email lists, or third-party app partners. They are then asked to opt-in and complete an onboarding questionnaire, which helps to organize them based on certain distinguishable factors, such as age, gender, location, profession, and personal interests.

Participation in a research panel is often incentivized. Members receive rewards in exchange for their feedback and time. These rewards can vary from one vendor to the next but can include cash, gift cards, vouchers, or a points system, which can be redeemed against goods and services.

Are There Different Types of Market Research Panels?

Market research panels can be split into two distinct groups: B2B panels and B2C panels.

  • B2B (business-to-business) panels are made up of business owners, professionals, industry experts, and decision-makers. Panelists often respond to business-related surveys regarding industry type, segmentation, or market demographics.
  • B2C (business-to-consumer) panels comprise of customers or end-users of a brand, product, or service. Businesses use these panels to access feedback from their target audience.

So, What Are the Advantages of Using a Market Research Panel?

Online market research panels tend to be more popular than other, more traditional research methods.

Take telephone interviews, for example. These require a lot of time and expense to run, and there’s no guarantee that the person answering the phone is 1) interested and available to speak, and 2) fits within the target demographic you wish to hear from. 

Research panels, on the other hand, are made up of pre-screened individuals who have already opted-in to respond to surveys. This makes panels more cost-effective (and faster) to run.

Other advantages of market research panels include:

  • Higher response rates: Respondents are motivated to take part in research and are less likely to be “caught cold” by a survey. This is usually because they’ve signed up themselves via an app or website, have subject matter knowledge they wish to share, or they’re incentivized by the rewards, such as cash, vouchers, or points.
  • Diverse viewpoints: A well-run, established research panel can be made up of any number of individuals from different backgrounds, professions, age groups, or locations. This level of variety allows you to mirror your own specific audience during a research project.
  • Reliable data sampling: The onboarding process of a panelist means their demographics are captured and categorized from the outset. This makes market segmentation easier and allows research panels to be convened quickly to gauge opinion or test the waters with a new product or service.

How Does Using an Online Market Research Panel Benefit Brands?

In addition to the advantages mentioned above, research panels have specific benefits to the brands and businesses that utilize them:

  • It offers quicker research turnaround: If a brand has entered the final stretch of a product development initiative or marketing campaign, and they wish to check-in with their target audience, pulling together a focus group at the last minute can be challenging – and expensive. Market research panels let brands access insights and feedback faster than other research methods.
  • Multimedia elements can be included: Online market research panels can seamlessly include video, photographs, and sound clips to enrich the survey experience and provide a far better level of feedback. Using multimedia elements in other forms of market research can range from difficult to impossible.
  • Products/services can be tested with real end-users: Prior to releasing products or launching services to the wider market, brands can test them with a facsimile of their target audience. Panels allow brands to gather actionable insights quickly, gauging sentiment and performance in the process. 

Are There Drawbacks to Using an Online Market Research Panel?

While market research panels do benefit both analysts and brands alike, they’re not immune from some glaring pitfalls.

  • Limited to those with internet access: As the name suggests, an online market research panel requires internet access. This is fine if your target audience is from a country where the internet is easily affordable and accessible, but if you wish to learn more from an older and/or remote group of people, it’s perhaps not the best research method.
  • Risk of duplicate respondents: People who enjoy participating in surveys (or motivated to do so via incentives) will likely sign up for multiple survey vendors. This can result in the duplication of responses, skewing the data in the process. While some vendors will do their best to remove duplicate respondents, it’s still important that the data is scrutinized carefully.
  • Risk of poor data quality: Speaking of data, surveys can attract a range of less desirable respondents, motivated solely by the incentives and with no interest in sharing considered opinions and feedback. Speeders, straight liners, survey professionals, fake accounts, bots, and more, these types of panelists can quickly derail a survey.

How to Combat Reduced Quality Using Organic Probability Sampling

Research panels can deliver a range of benefits, from higher response rates to diverse insights and quicker turnaround times. 

However, the market research panel definition we shared at the start of this article only tells part of the story. Yes, these panels are largely comprised of motivated research participants — yet, survey participation has been on the wane. This means the quality of research panels are fast becoming compromised as traditional companies scramble for participants from anywhere and everywhere.  

At Pollfish, we avoid using conventional panels for this very reason. Instead, we’ve developed our very own market research methodology called Organic Probability Sampling. This involves sourcing our own audience of real consumers via partnerships with app publishers, which allows us to conduct randomized, yet targeted survey distribution to verified respondents.

And with over half a billion people in our network, we never have to worry about data quality, delivering only the best, most authentic, and most useful insights to our clients.

Frequently asked questions

What is a market research panel?

A market research panel is a group of individuals who have been recruited to take part in market research, which may include surveys, online panels, or in-person panels.

How do B2B market research panels differ from B2C panels?

B2B (business-to-business) panels focus on the relationship between two businesses and may consist of business owners, industry experts, and other professionals. B2C (business-to-consumer) panels focus on the relationship between the business and their target market (the consumer). B2C panels will consist of members who represent that target market.

What are the advantages of an online market research panel?

Online market research panels are more popular than their traditional counterparts for several reasons. Online market research panels are most cost-effective, faster to deploy, have higher response rates, provide better data sampling, and allow for diverse viewpoints to be heard.

Why is poor data quality a risk of online market research panels?

Online surveys can attract individuals who participate in surveys solely for the incentive or reward. These respondents are less motivated to share genuine opinions. There is also the risk that fake accounts and bots could be used to game the system.

How can you improve data quality of online market research panels?

The results gathered through online market research panels can be improved by using organic probably sampling, a market research methodology developed by Pollfish. This approach sources survey respondents who are motivated to participate for genuine reasons.